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LicensingMotorcycle Riders’       Handbook            Roads and Traffic Authority               www.rta.nsw.gov.au        ...
Motorcycle Riders’ HandbookLearner Approved Motorcycle (LAM) schemeA trial of a LAM scheme was introduced on              ...
Motorcycle                     Riders                   HandbookThis handbook is only an interpretation of the law, made e...
Head OfficeCentennial Plaza260 Elizabeth StreetSurry Hills NSW 2010(P O Box K198)Haymarket NSW 1238Telephone : (02) 9218 6...
Contents                                       Preparing to ride _______________ 10                                       ...
Looking around _________________ 34               Emergencies ___________________ 51     Scanning and planning ___________...
A system of checks ____________________ 62  Accessories and modifications _________ 64  Questions ________________________...
Introduction                                   you will maintain, or even further develop                                 ...
Motorcycle Parts                                    Throttle                                                              ...
LicensingStudying this book                                The meaning of many of the words used in this                  ...
LicensingTo get your learner motorcycle licence in a        The course gives you the basic skills needed todeclared area  ...
Licensingthis test after passing the pre-learner training   • you must have held your learner licence forand you have obta...
LicensingIn the course, qualified motorcycle instructors           • take and pass the riding testtake you onto public roa...
Licensingheld your learner riders licence for the normal     • you have been stopped because youminimum of three months.  ...
Licensing• the differences between different sorts of       Road motorcycles - are designed for sealed  motorcycles       ...
LicensingGenerally, light and medium sized trail            Your strengthmotorcycles are not as good as road              ...
Feeling well, riding wellQuestions                                            motorcycle requires a lot of attention, skil...
Feeling well, riding wellweak, dizzy, drowsy or slow to react in an       • a properly fitted screen or fairing on youreme...
Preparing to ridePreparing to ride                                   HelmetMental preparation                             ...
Preparing to ride• it should fit comfortably but not too tightly   Eye protection  (avoid helmets that fit loosely)       ...
Preparing to ride• shatterproof (preferably meeting Australian         use. Glove styles affect comfort and the ability  S...
Preparing to rideJackets, pants and accessories                    and other sturdy synthetic materials can also          ...
Preparing to rideTyres                                                  clutch and throttle - make sure these             ...
Preparing to ride   flasher switch (flashes the headlight on and     you can see about half of the lane behind you   off) ...
Preparing to rideSpecial check for unfamiliar motorcycles         • use the throttle, clutch, and brakes a few            ...
Control for safetyControl for safety                                  motorcycle when necessary                           ...
Control for safety     comfortable, this position gives you more        Turning     strength and is less tiring. It also a...
Control for safetySteering                                           At road speeds, the sharper the turn or the          ...
Control for safety                                                     firmly and correctly, the front tyre contact       ...
Control for safetyyou immediately release the brake lever. Youthen must reapply it again, gently. However, ifyou learn to ...
Control for safety         Squeeze                                                            Ease                        ...
Control for safety  stop                                           Straight line braking• the set up must be quick, using ...
Control for safety         Maximum                                  Lean angle                                      Brakin...
Control for safetyChanging gears                                     Under these conditions, you may need to use          ...
Control for safety• open the throttle a little for more power,  holding the foot brake on• ease the clutch lever out to fr...
Being seenBeing seen                                         ClothingCar drivers involved in crashes with               Br...
Being seenHeadlight                                         • if I move within my lane how will it                        ...
Being seenbelow. If you cannot see everything you need         guarantee you are seen. This usually createsto, slow down. ...
Being seenWhen you park:                                    Horn• the rear of the motorcycle must be as near as   The horn...
Being seenIndicators                                           lanes or turn, and may drive into your path                ...
Being seenYou can draw attention to your brake light by       You could have the brakes on setup, ready fortapping on the ...
Being seen Questions                                       • Ride with your headlight on low beam                         ...
Looking aroundLooking around                                     mirror your chances of seeing a vehicle that             ...
Looking around• sunshine in your eyes as it makes scanning  difficult• other drivers who may be blinded by the  sun• other...
Looking aroundare also particular times when it is veryimportant for you to use your mirrors:• when preparing to turn or c...
Looking aroundPosition                                           As a motorcyclist you can move around in                 ...
Looking around                                               If a driver wants to overtake you, hold your                 ...
Keeping your distanceKeeping your distance                               stop your motorcycle. This is not enough         ...
Keeping your distanceSpace to the sideAs a motorcycle rider you can do one thingthat car drivers cannot; you can move from...
Keeping your distanceCars making U-turns are a particular danger.       If you see a car pulling out, approach veryWhen ca...
Keeping your distance• if the car is on your left, move to the right   traffic may begin to move leaving you trapped• if a...
Keeping your distancediscourage other drivers from trying to            • change lanes and let the tailgater pass whensque...
Keeping your distance4. What should you do when approaching an   intersection where an on-coming car is   signalling to tu...
Difficult surfacesDifficult surfaces                                    slowing down and/or leaning your body             ...
Difficult surfacesAvoid sudden moves or sudden changes in              sharp turns at intersections, or enter and leavespe...
Difficult surfacesUneven surfaces                                    as safety allows. Do not try to cross large          ...
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
Motor cycle riders' handbook
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Motor Cycle Riders' Handbook

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Transcript of "Motor cycle riders' handbook"

  1. 1. LicensingMotorcycle Riders’ Handbook Roads and Traffic Authority www.rta.nsw.gov.au (Issued free of charge)
  2. 2. Motorcycle Riders’ HandbookLearner Approved Motorcycle (LAM) schemeA trial of a LAM scheme was introduced on The list of approved motorcycles will be adjusted as6 September 2002 which allows novice riders (learner more motorcycles become available.and provisional) to ride moderately poweredmotorcycles up to 660ml. For general enquiries contact the RTA Call Centre on 13 22 13. TTY 1800 331412.The list of motorcycles that can be ridden by learner andprovisional riders can be obtained by: · contacting the RTA Call Centre on 13 22 13 · attending any motor registry · visiting the RTA website at www.rta.nsw.gov.au. The list can be found under Licensing, Tests, Driving & Riding Tests, Motorcycle Rider Training Scheme, then Motorcycles for Novice Riders.Novice riders must only ride motorcycles which areshown on the RTA list. Cat. No. RTA45071007 Sep 02
  3. 3. Motorcycle Riders HandbookThis handbook is only an interpretation of the law, made easy to understand by using plain English. Make sure you have the most recent handbook as laws change often. Motorcycle Riders Handbook i
  4. 4. Head OfficeCentennial Plaza260 Elizabeth StreetSurry Hills NSW 2010(P O Box K198)Haymarket NSW 1238Telephone : (02) 9218 6888RTA ABN: 64 480 155 255RTA/Pub.00.106ISSN 0728-4985Cat No. 48024416GOctober 2000This book is printed on recycled paperii Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  5. 5. Contents Preparing to ride _______________ 10 Mental preparation ___________________ 10Studying this book______________ 1 Dress to be seen ______________________ 10Licensing ______________________ 1 Checking your motorcycle _____________ 13 Compulsory rider training _____________ 1 Questions ____________________________ 16 - Pre-learner course Control for safety ______________ 17 Compulsory rider training _____________ 3 How to sit on your motorcycle _________ 17 - Pre-provisional course Turning _____________________________ 18 Mature age riders _____________________ 4 Steering _____________________________ 19 Unlicensed riding _____________________ 5 Braking ______________________________ 20 When your licence may be checked _____ 5 Changing gears _______________________ 25 Carrying your licence when riding ______ 5 Starting on a hill ______________________ 25 Choosing your motorcycle _____________ 5 Questions ____________________________ 26 (on a learner and provisional licence) Questions ____________________________ 8 Being seen _____________________ 27 Movement ___________________________ 27Feeling well, riding well _________ 8 Clothing _____________________________ 27 Attention ____________________________ 8 Headlight ____________________________ 28 Alcohol ______________________________ 8 Lane positioning for safety _____________ 28 Other drugs __________________________ 8 Parking ______________________________ 29 Fatigue (being tired) __________________ 9 Horn ________________________________ 30 Questions ____________________________ 9 Signals ______________________________ 30 Larger vehicles _______________________ 32 Questions ____________________________ 33 Motorcycle Riders Handbook iii
  6. 6. Looking around _________________ 34 Emergencies ___________________ 51 Scanning and planning ________________ 34 Emergency braking ___________________ 51 Head checks _________________________ 35 Swerving - avoiding obstacles __________ 51 Using your mirrors ___________________ 35 Skid control __________________________ 52 Position _____________________________ 37 Riding over objects ____________________ 53 Questions ____________________________ 38 Airborne objects ______________________ 53Keeping your distance __________ 39 Animals _____________________________ 54 Space in front ________________________ 39 Mechanical problems _________________ 54 Space to side _________________________ 40 Questions ____________________________ 57 Sharing lanes _________________________ 42 Carrying passengers and loads __ 58 Space behind _________________________ 43 Passengers ___________________________ 58 Questions ____________________________ 43 Loads _______________________________ 60Difficult surfaces ______________ 45 Questions ____________________________ 60 Slippery surfaces _____________________ 45 Group riding ____________________ 61 Uneven surfaces ______________________ 47 Planning the ride _____________________ 61 Rail crossing _________________________ 47 Peer pressure ________________________ 61 Sloping surfaces ______________________ 47 Your motorcycle ________________ 62 Road grooves or dirt crown ____________ 48 Motorcycle maintenance _______________ 62 Questions ____________________________ 48 Mechanical failure ____________________ 62Riding at night _________________ 49 Regular inspections ___________________ 62 Be sure you are seen __________________ 49 Roadworthiness ______________________ 62 Questions ____________________________ 50iv Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  7. 7. A system of checks ____________________ 62 Accessories and modifications _________ 64 Questions ____________________________ 65The motorcycle skill test ________ 65Glossary _______________________ 67Index __________________________ 70 Motorcycle Riders Handbook v
  8. 8. Introduction you will maintain, or even further develop your standard during your riding life.Motorcycling can be fun, economic and This handbook contains importantsafe. information about riding techniques, howMotorcycle riding can also be hazardous. to cope with hazards and about selectingMotorcyclists are less protected than car and maintaining your motorcycle. Pleasedrivers and have a greater chance of being read it carefully.killed or injured in a crash. Enjoy your riding, but above all, ride toYou can become a safe rider through survive.acquiring the necessary skills andunderstanding of the road environment, byalways being alert and defensive and byaccepting that the prime responsibility foryour safety on the road is yours.Our procedures for getting a riders licence P Forwardare designed to help you become a safe Chief Executiverider. The Motorcycle Riders Handbook, our Roads and Traffic Authoritytraining programs and the testing New South Walesprocedures are designed to bring you up toa minimum acceptable standard. We trustvi Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  9. 9. Motorcycle Parts Throttle Clutch lever Front brake lever Front Shock forks absorberPassenger Footpeg Rear brake Side stand Gearshift Footpeg Passengerfootpeg pedal pedal footpeg Chain Centre stand Engine stop switch Rear view mirrors Clutch lever Front brake lever Throttle Motorcycle Riders Handbook vii
  10. 10. LicensingStudying this book The meaning of many of the words used in this handbook are in the Glossary at the back of theThe contents pages at the front can help you book.find information quickly. LicensingQuestions at the end of each section:• provide a check of some of the important Compulsory rider training - points in the section Pre-learner course• show you the style of questions in the Compulsory motorcycle rider training is being knowledge test. progressively introduced across NSW. As an area is declared and a training centre opened,The questions in this book provide a guide people in the area who want to get a motor-while studying the information. The questions cycle licence must satisfactorily complete pre-in the actual knowledge test will not learner training before a learner licence will benecessarily be the ones asked here. It is up to issued. Motorcycles, helmets and gloves areyou to study each section thoroughly. supplied for training. The course is sevenDo not forget to study the Road Users’ Handbook hours long (two three and a half hour sessions)just as carefully. It contains the rest of the over two consecutive days. The RTA providesinformation that you will need to know to pass courses at different times to suit your needs. Ifthe knowledge test. you live in an un-declared area, but would like to attend rider training you may do so. ForYou can get the Road Users’ Handbook from any more information ask at any motor registry ormotor registry in New South Wales (NSW). phone the RTA Call Centre on 13 2213. Motorcycle Riders Handbook 1
  11. 11. LicensingTo get your learner motorcycle licence in a The course gives you the basic skills needed todeclared area ride a motorcycle and an introduction to safe• to get this licence you must be at least 16 riding. years and 9 months of age To get your learner motorcycle licence in an un-• go to your motor registry and pay the pre- declared area learner course training fee (you get a receipt • to get this licence you must be at least 16 for this) years and 9 months of age• ring the RTA Call Centre on 13 2213 to book • go to a motor registry and pass the a course knowledge and eyesight test (you must take• do the course and get the Certificate of proof of identity, see the Road Users’ Competency Handbook).• take your Certificate of Competency and proof The knowledge test (in declared and un-declared of identity (see Road Users’ Handbook) to a areas) motor registry when you take your knowledge and eyesight test (you must pass To get a learner licence you have to pass a your learner knowledge test and get your computer knowledge test based on the Road learner licence within three months of the Users’ Handbook and this book. The test has a date shown on the Certificate of Competency number of questions with several possible or you will have to pay another training fee answers for each. You have to choose the and do the training again) correct answer.• pay the fee to get a learner licence. If you are in a compulsory training area you do2 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  12. 12. Licensingthis test after passing the pre-learner training • you must have held your learner licence forand you have obtained your Certificate of at least 3 months and no longer than 6Competency. months (your learner licence only lasts 6 months)As well as English, the knowledge test isavailable in: • go to a motor registry and pay the pre- provisional course fee and a skill test feeArabic, Chinese, Croatian, Greek, Japanese, (you will get a receipt for these)Korean, Serbian, Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese • ring the RTA Call Centre on 13 2213 to bookGetting experience as a learner rider a courseRiding any motorcycle requires thought and • do the course and pass the skill test to getskill. Learner riders tend to pay too much the Certificate of Competencyattention to controlling the motorcycle rather • take the Certificate of Competency back to thethan coping with what is happening on the motor registry to get a provisional licenceroad. This can often lead to them getting into • pay the fee to get a provisional licence.difficulties. When you start to ride, try torestrict your riding to quieter streets or car This training is available to all learner licenceparks close to home. holders who have held their licence for 3 months. The RTA does not provide aCompulsory rider training - motorcycle for the course - you must providePre - provisional course your own registered, roadworthy motorcycle.To get your provisional motorcycle licence in adeclared area: Motorcycle Riders Handbook 3
  13. 13. LicensingIn the course, qualified motorcycle instructors • take and pass the riding testtake you onto public roads to teach you how to • pay the fee to get a provisional licence.ride safely. It is against the law to attempt to influence the Make sure you book in for your provisional training results of your knowledge or riding test by at least 4-6 weeks before your learners licence offering any money or gift to the Testing expires. If you do not pass your provisional Officer or Instructor. training and get your provisional licence before Mature age riders your learners licence expires you will have to go through the entire program and pay all fees again. If you are over 30 years of age and hold, or are eligible to hold, a gold drivers licence you mayTo get your provisional motorcycle licence in an proceed directly from a learner riders licence toun-declared area an unrestricted riders licence.You do not have to do training (but if you want While on your learner riders licence you mustto, you can). observe the normal learner rider restrictions• you must have held your learner licence for including the motorcycle engine capacity and at least 3 months and no longer than 6 power to weight ratio restrictions. Mature age months (your learner licence only lasts 6 riders must still attend compulsory rider months) training, if available in your area. However, you may proceed to the pre-provisional level of• go to a motor registry and book a riding test rider training or, if you do not live in a (see the Road Users Handbook for details) declared area, the rider test, without having4 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  14. 14. Licensingheld your learner riders licence for the normal • you have been stopped because youminimum of three months. committed a traffic offencePlease note that regardless of eligibility for the • you have been stopped for a random breathmature age exemption, a rider must have held test either by a stationary breath testing unita riders licence for at least 12 months before or by a mobile breath testing unit.being permitted to carry a pillion passenger Carrying your licence when riding(see page 58 - Carrying passengers and loads). You must carry your licence with you whenUnlicensed riding you are riding. This helps the Police to check that riders are correctly licensed. There is anThere are heavy penalties for riding without on-the-spot fine for not having your licencethe correct licence. The most serious types of with you.offences are always dealt with by a court.Other offences will result in either an on-the- Choosing your motorcycle (on aspot fine or a court case. There could be a fine learner or provisional licence)of up to $2000, a jail term of up to six months There are many things to think about whenand a period of disqualification from riding. you choose a motorcycle such as:When your licence may be checked • what type of motorcycles the law will allow you to ridePolice officers may check that you are correctlylicensed when: • where you want to ride and what style of riding (off-road, on-road etc.)• you are involved in an accident, whether • what size motorcycle is best for you you were at fault or not Motorcycle Riders Handbook 5
  15. 15. Licensing• the differences between different sorts of Road motorcycles - are designed for sealed motorcycles (tarred or cement) roads. Their tyres are• cost to buy and run motorcycles. designed for most road conditions. Road motorcycles include commuter, touring andThe type of motorcycle sports motorcycles. If you are a new rider, beginMotorcycle engine “size” refers to the capacity with a small commuter, or touring motorcycle.measured in millilitres (mL). The more mLs When you are a little more experienced, if youthe larger the engine. wish, choose a sports motorcycle.In NSW, learner and provisional motorcyclists Dual-purpose motorcycles (trail motorcycles) -are only allowed to ride motorcycles of 260 mL are made to be used on dirt and tarred areas.or less, with a power to weight ratio of 150 Most trail motorcycles are light or mediumkilowatts per tonne or less. For further details sized. They differ from street motorcycles incontact the RTA Call Centre on 13 2213. several ways:Style of motorcycle • they have suspension built to go over rough groundMotorcycles can also be grouped by style. Thethree general styles are: • they have a higher ground clearance, which means the seat is higher off the ground• road • their tyres have tread to ride on sand, dirt,• dual purpose - trail motorcycles mud etc. They are also good on the road• special purpose. when it is dry, but you may need to take extra care when you ride in the wet.6 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  16. 16. LicensingGenerally, light and medium sized trail Your strengthmotorcycles are not as good as road There will be times when you will have to pushmotorcycles for long distance highway use. your motorcycle in and out of small placesYou must be careful where you ride these (such as a small parking place). Yourmotorcycles. Your motorcycle must be registered motorcycle should be light enough for you toand insured unless you only ever ride on private push, place on the centre stand and park easily.property. Bush tracks may be public roads. If Can you push your motorcycle in a figure eightyou are unsure if where you ride is private (8) without losing balance or struggling?property or not, ask the local Police. Setting up your motorcycleSpecial purpose motorcycles - a variety of You must make sure that your motorcycle fitsmotorcycles are available for competition. you. Adjust the handlebars, then the hand andThese motorcycles are generally not designed foot controls so that you can reach and useto be used on public roads and you may not be them quickly and properly. Check that theable to register them. clutch, front brake and rear brake workYour size according to the manual.You may have difficulty controlling a The gear change lever should also be in amotorcycle that is too high or too heavy for comfortable position for changing both up andyou. Do you feel comfortable when you sit on down gears.the motorcycle with the stands up? If theanswer is no, the motorcycle may be too big foryou to handle easily and safely. Motorcycle Riders Handbook 7
  17. 17. Feeling well, riding wellQuestions motorcycle requires a lot of attention, skill and judgement. It also requires a good sense of1. What is the maximum engine capacity (mL) balance. Alcohol affects all of these skills. motorcycle the law will allow you as a Alcohol also affects your vision, making riding learner or provisional licence holder to ride? very dangerous. It becomes difficult to see2. When setting up your motorcycle, what are things clearly and it affects your ability to the controls you should check? judge distance. Many riders with blood alcohol levels well below the legal limit have been involved in crashes. It is hard enough to ride a motorcycle safely when you are not affected byFeeling well, riding well alcohol. Do not drink and ride.Attention The Road Users’ Handbook contains information on alcohol and riding or driving that you mustIt is very important to concentrate while you know.are riding. If your mind starts to wander andyou start to think of things not related to riding Other drugssafely, you may fail to take the necessary action Many drugs affect your ability to ride athat could stop you crashing. motorcycle safely and well. This includesAlcohol prescription drugs (drugs that you cannot buy unless your doctor gives you a script) as wellDrinking and riding is extremely dangerous. as illegal drugs, and some drugs such as coldMany road deaths involve alcohol. Riding a or allergy tablets. Such drugs can leave you8 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  18. 18. Feeling well, riding wellweak, dizzy, drowsy or slow to react in an • a properly fitted screen or fairing on youremergency. Make sure you know the effects of motorcycle can also help provide protectionany drug before you attempt to ride. Check • limit your riding distance to the length ofwith your doctor or pharmacist and read the time with which you feel comfortablelabel to make sure the medication will notaffect your riding. The Road Users’ Handbook Some signs of fatigue are:contains further important information about • feeling stiff or cramped, usually in yourdrugs. fingers, bottom or kneesFatigue (being tired) • difficulty concentrating on ridingRiding a motorcycle is much more tiring than • sore and tired eyesdriving a car. When planning a trip, keep in • drowsiness (tiredness).mind the effects of fatigue on your control of If you have any signs of fatigue stopthe motorcycle. immediately and rest.For more information of fatigue see the Road QuestionsUsers’ Handbook. 1. How can you find out if any medicine orHere are some extra ways for motorcyclists to drugs you are taking might affect yourprevent fatigue: ability to ride?• dress to fully protect yourself from wind, 2. How can you tell if you are fatigued? heat, cold and rain as they are tiring Motorcycle Riders Handbook 9
  19. 19. Preparing to ridePreparing to ride HelmetMental preparation The most important piece of personal equipment for a motorcycle rider is aWhen you are preparing to ride, you must put motorcycle helmet. The law requires allall thoughts unrelated to riding out of your motorcyclists and their pillions (passengers) ormind. Aggression, frustration and work or sidecar passengers to wear helmets of a typehome pressures can take your mind off riding approved by the RTA. It must have ansafely. Australian Standards AS 1698 sticker.Dress to be seen (See Being Seen) There are many types and styles of motorcycleThe more visible you are, the more likely it is helmets available, and their prices vary widely.that other drivers will see and try to avoid you. A main choice is between an open face or a fullWhen riding at night use reflective stripes or face helmet.tape to make yourself easier to see. Although an open face helmet might be lighterWearing the right clothing and feel less restrictive, full face helmets offer better eye, wind, sun and injury protection.Wearing the right protective clothing can: For long trips you will find a full face helmet• greatly reduce injury in a crash the most comfortable to wear.• protect you from the weather. Helmet check list • your helmet should be no more than five years old10 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  20. 20. Preparing to ride• it should fit comfortably but not too tightly Eye protection (avoid helmets that fit loosely) Your eyes need protection from the wind, dust,• fasten the chin strap and have it properly rain, insects and stones thrown up by other tightened. If it is not, the helmet can come vehicles. Eye protection for motorcyclists is off in a crash one or a combination of the following:• replace your helmet after a crash or after • a visor (face shield) attached to your helmet dropping it onto a hard surface • goggles• never buy a second hand helmet • some screens or fairings attached to your• replace your helmet if you find cracks, loose motorcycle may help to keep your face out padding, worn straps or bare metal of the wind. Whether you choose to ride• the best way to clean a helmet is with soapy with the comfort of a screen or not, it is best warm water to wear a visor or goggles to protect your eyes.• never use petrol, (or any other petroleum product) on any helmet as they can weaken If an insect or small rock flies into your face it it (this is especially true of helmets with a will distract or injure you. For the best polycarbonate shell) or on any internal protection you should wear a visor or linings motorcycle goggles.• do not use paint, or stickers on your helmet Visors or goggles should be: as they may weaken the shell. • clean and not scratched • securely fastened Motorcycle Riders Handbook 11
  21. 21. Preparing to ride• shatterproof (preferably meeting Australian use. Glove styles affect comfort and the ability Standards AS 1609) to ride a motorcycle, even for short periods.• well ventilated to reduce fogging Thick gloves help reduce the effects of cold but can make it harder to properly use your hand• made to protect your eyes from dirt, bugs, controls. Seamless palms on gloves will help dust, water and other objects prevent blisters, and gauntlets (long gloves)• made with clear lenses for use at night (dark will keep cold air from going up your sleeves. or tinted lenses can make it a lot harder to Gloves should fit comfortably but not too see at night). tightly when you grip the handlebars.You can use sunglasses or prescription glasses Consider wearing good quality dish washingunder your visor for riding. Do not wear your gloves over your ordinary summer gloves insunglasses at night. wet weather, to keep the leather dry.Prescription glasses or sun glasses alone do not Footwearprovide proper eye protection on a motorcycle, Injury to your feet or ankles can be very badin fact, lenses made of plastic rather than glass even in a minor fall. The best footwear is bootsare preferable. which provide ankle protection. Choose bootsGloves which have defined heels and rubber soles. Do not ride in joggers or basketball boots, or worseIf you fall it is a natural reaction for your hands still, in thongs or bare feet. Shoes or boots withto reach out to the ground to stop the fall. To laces may catch on footpegs or gear leversreduce damage to your hands should you fall, leading you to lose control when stopping.wear leather gloves designed for motorcycle12 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  22. 22. Preparing to rideJackets, pants and accessories and other sturdy synthetic materials can also be good provided you do not wear themProper clothing provides protection against against your skin.heat loss and skin injury. If you wear ordinaryclothing you will almost certainly feel Other protective options you may want to useuncomfortable. Your clothing should: are:• fit comfortably • back protectors to protect your spine• keep you warm and dry • kidney belts to support your lower back and• completely cover your arms, legs and body. help stop heat loss • heated handle bar gripsJackets with snug cuffs and waist are best tokeep you warm. Even in warm weather, • demister visors.constant exposure to the wind may make you Checking your motorcyclevery cold. This condition, known ashypothermia or “wind chill”, can reduce your There are many things on the road that canability to concentrate and slow your reaction cause trouble and it is your responsibility totime. For this reason, windproof clothing and make sure that your motorcycle is not one ofwarm layers of clothing are essential. In hot them. If there is anything wrong with yourweather leave your leathers on and wear less motorcycle, the time to find out is before youclothing underneath. Good quality leather are on the road. Here are the things thatclothing made for motorcycling provides the should be checked before every ride.best protection in a crash. Waxed cotton, vinyl Motorcycle Riders Handbook 13
  23. 23. Preparing to rideTyres clutch and throttle - make sure these controls work smoothly. All major controlsKeep them in good condition: should quickly return to the normal position pressure - your motorcycle will not handle when you release them properly if the air pressure is too low. brake, throttle (accelerator) and clutch Check the owner’s manual for the correct cables - check the cables for kinks or broken tyre pressure strands. Make sure cables are regularly tread - worn or uneven tread can make your lubricated (oiled). If a cable breaks it could motorcycle hard to control, particularly on be dangerous. slippery roads Lights damage - check for cuts or nails in the tread or cracks that occur through age. Any Keep them clean and check them regularly: damage or excessive wear could result in a indicators - check all four turn signal lights “blow out” of a tyre. This can be extremely before you ride. Make sure that they flash dangerous. when they are turned on, and are brightControls enough to be seen by other road users. head light - check your head light and tailMake sure your controls are in working order light before riding. At night, try your dipbefore you start riding: switch, the switch used to change between brakes - try the front and rear brakes one at high and low beam, to make sure both lights a time before starting to ride. Make sure are working. Also check your head light each one works14 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  24. 24. Preparing to ride flasher switch (flashes the headlight on and you can see about half of the lane behind you off) and as much as possible of the lane next to brake light - try each of your brake controls you. Use them regularly. and make sure that your brake light comes Petrol and oil on as soon as the brake pedal is touched. Check petrol and oil levels before you start.Horn Running out of petrol or forgetting to turn theTry the horn. You need to be sure it is going to fuel tap on can be dangerous if it happenswork when you need it. when you need power quickly. Do not ride with the fuel tap on “reserve” unless you needChain to.Make sure the drive chain is properly adjusted Lack of oil can cause your engine to “seize”.(your owner’s manual will explain how to Engine seizure could also lock your rear wheelcorrectly adjust it), and oiled. When you oil it, and cause you to lose control. If your enginedo so after a ride or after cleaning and make does seize, immediately squeeze the clutchsure you do not accidentally spray any lever (this allows the rear wheel to spin), keeplubricant onto the tyre. the clutch lever squeezed and brake to a safeMirrors stop.Clean and adjust both of your mirrors beforeyou ride; it is dangerous to adjust your mirrorswhile you are riding. Adjust each mirror so Motorcycle Riders Handbook 15
  25. 25. Preparing to rideSpecial check for unfamiliar motorcycles • use the throttle, clutch, and brakes a few times before you move off. Even onMake sure you are completely familiar with the motorcycles that are similar, controls maymotorcycle before you ride it. If it is a give different results. Ride very carefullyborrowed motorcycle, check it in the following until you are familiar with the way theway: motorcycle handles. For instance, take turns• make sure it is registered and legal slower and give yourself extra stopping• make sure you are licensed to ride it distance.• make all the checks you would on your own Questions motorcycle 1. How many impacts is a helmet designed• find out where the turn signals, horn, for? headlight switch, fuel tap, and engine cut- 2. Do you need other eye protection when off switch are riding if you already wear prescription• make sure you use them without having to glasses? look for them 3. Apart from a helmet, what other protective• check the controls clothing should you wear?• make sure you know the gear pattern 4. What should you see in each mirror fitted to (which way the gear lever goes to change up your motorcycle? and down) 5. What should you do before riding an unfamiliar motorcycle?16 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  26. 26. Control for safetyControl for safety motorcycle when necessary • use your arms to control the motorcycleGood control of your motorcycle can save lives rather than to hold yourself upand prevent injuries. You have to be able toconfidently make it go, change direction and • a good riding position should feelstop. This handbook will not tell you all that comfortable, allowing you to move aroundyou need to know or how to control direction, on your motorcycle and have fast, effectivespeed, or balance. Only practise or a good use of the controls without affecting thetraining school can do that. However, this balancesection will tell you a few things to help you • do not grip the handle bars too firmly. Startkeep the control you need to avoid crashes. with your wrists slightly lower than your knuckles. This reduces the chances of youHow you sit on your motorcycle using too much throttle early in the learningTo control a motorcycle well, your body must process. It is also a very comfortablebe in the correct position: position for riding long distances. To reach• sit so you are close to the fuel tank to help the clutch and brake levers your wrists weight distribution on the motorcycle should not have to move• your back and stomach muscles should be • your arms should be relaxed and bent at the able to support your upper body without elbows. Bending your arms allows you to the help of your arms. This allows the top turn the handlebars with your arms and not half of your body to be flexible so that you your shoulders. As well as being more may lean at different angles to the Motorcycle Riders Handbook 17
  27. 27. Control for safety comfortable, this position gives you more Turning strength and is less tiring. It also allows your body to absorb any shocks coming New riders tend to have more trouble turning from the front wheel. If your elbows are than experienced riders. The only way to learn straight or stiff you can easily lose steering how to make good, safe turns is to practise: control on rough roads • turn slowly; novice motorcycle riders often• press your knees and thighs lightly against take turns too fast. If you turn too fast you the tank. This will help you in controlling could cross into another lane of traffic, run and steering your motorcycle. Sticking your off the road or brake too hard and skid out knee out is definitely not a good or efficient of control style of riding on the road • approach turns very carefully, slow down• keep the arches of your feet on the correct before you turn, and increase your speed footpegs. A firm footing is important to gradually coming out of a turn. help you keep balance. Try not to take both feet off the footrests while you are riding as this can reduce your balance. Keep your feet relaxed and close to the controls. This lets you use them quickly if you have to. Do not use your toes to find how far you are leaning. If you let them drop down, they may get caught between the road and the footpegs.18 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  28. 28. Control for safetySteering At road speeds, the sharper the turn or the faster you ride, the more both you and theThere are several ways to make a motorcycle motorcycle must lean.change direction. In this handbook we will belooking at some basic ways. You and the motorcycle work together to keep balance. Sometimes you may have to leanWhen riding very slowly - steer by turning the further than the motorcycle, sometimes youhandlebars in the direction you wish to go. may lean less. This could be used to changeAllow the motorcycle to lean in the direction of direction in a corner.the turn, maintaining your balance. While leaning the motorcycle, it is important toAt road speeds - the motorcycle must lean keep your head vertical and eyes level with thetowards the inside of the turn to go around a horizon. This helps you to keep your balancecorner, and normally you would lean with the and see where you are going.motorcycle. For instance, to go right: Turn your head to look where you want the1 you would press on the right handlebar to motorcycle to go. Without changing the begin the turn position of your head, scan the planned path2 then lessen the handlebar pressure once the by sweeping with your eyes. angle of lean has been reached3 straighten up from leaning to the right by gently pressing on the left handle bar Motorcycle Riders Handbook 19
  29. 29. Control for safety firmly and correctly, the front tyre contact patch gets larger and provides most of the grip that stops your motorcycle. Whatever the conditions, a car or truck has the ability to brake better than a motorcycle. Your motorcycle has two brakes: • a front brake that you use by squeezing the front brake lever with your hand • a rear brake that you use by pressing down on the rear brake pedal with your foot. The front brake is more powerful than the rear brake, and you need both of them to stop well.Braking You must be careful when using the frontBrakes only stop wheels, but it is the grip of the brake. If you grab the brake lever you maytyres on the road that stops your motorcycle. lock the front wheel causing it to skid. This isTherefore, when you stop, you need the largest most likely to happen if you are caught bypossible amount of tyre gripping (largest surprise, or are on wet roads or poor surfaces.contact patch) the road surface. To brake best, If your front wheel locks, you can unlock it ifthe motorcycle needs to be upright andtravelling in a straight line. When you brake20 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  30. 30. Control for safetyyou immediately release the brake lever. Youthen must reapply it again, gently. However, ifyou learn to use both brakes properly, there is Setupno danger. SuspensionProgressive braking ForksProgressive braking is the best method ofbraking. It is: Front tyre contact• set up patch• squeeze Set up• ease By quickly but lightly applying both brakes, (using four fingers on the front brake lever) transfer the weight and energy of the Before motorcycle down through the front suspension Braking to push the front tyre road contact patch onto the road more firmly (the front suspension will compress slightly). Motorcycle Riders Handbook 21
  31. 31. Control for safety Squeeze Ease Suspension Suspension Forks Forks Front tyre contact Front tyre patch contact patchSqueeze Ease off both brakes before you come to a stop or the brakes will lock up causing theAs the contact patch gets a better grip on the motorcycle to skid.road, you can then squeeze the front brakelever harder. Squeeze gradually, squeezing the Good progressive braking allows you to brakefront brake lever more to get even better grip firmly and safely in a short distance.on the road surface. Depending on the Some important things to remember aboutweather, the surface, the type or loading of the braking:motorcycle, the rear brake may not take muchmore pressure before skidding occurs. • once a brake has locked you have lost control of that wheelEase • practice progressive braking every time you22 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  32. 32. Control for safety stop Straight line braking• the set up must be quick, using four fingers When brakes are used properly, motorcycles on the front brake lever, and the squeeze have good braking potential. must be gradual To use your brakes best your motorcycle must• with constant practice you are ensuring that be upright and travelling in a straight line. when you need to stop in a hurry there is less chance of a wheel locking because you There is no difference in your braking action will react the same way as you practised from a comfortable routine stop to bringing the (setup, squeeze and ease) motorcycle to a stop in the shortest possible distance.• use both brakes every time you slow down or stop. If you use only the rear brake for Braking in a curve “normal” stops, you may not have enough The most important thing to keep in mind is skill to use the front brake properly when that it is best to slow down before you begin you really need it leaning for a curve.• set up with both brakes at the same time, Use progressive braking to slow down as much and then squeeze the brake according to the as you need before leaning. road conditions. If you grab - you could lock up. If you must brake in a curve, remember that some of the tyre’s grip is being used by the motorcycle to lean, therefore there is not as much tyre grip available to brake with. Motorcycle Riders Handbook 23
  33. 33. Control for safety Maximum Lean angle Braking in a curve requires greater care decreasing lean minimum Maximum because the greater the lean of your brakes braking motorcycle, the more likely your wheels will Braking ability increasing lose traction when you apply the brakes. Lean angle increasing If you must brake in a curve, use very limited Decreasng angle increasing brakes braking while the motorcycle is leaning over. Braking ability Applying either brake too hard will result in decreasing you losing control. Maximum braking Increasing angle reducing brakesIf you realise you are going through a curvetoo quickly, the setup and squeeze is the same;only the amount you squeeze the brake levervaries.To brake in a corner the motorcycle needs to beupright and travelling in a straight line. Besure there is enough room on the road to dothis.Motorcycle upright, set up the brakes, and thensqueeze.24 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  34. 34. Control for safetyChanging gears Under these conditions, you may need to use the brakes in order to slow down enough toThere is more to changing gears than simply change down safely.getting the motorcycle to accelerate smoothly. Gear changes in a turnChanging down gears Do not change gears up or down in a turn. AIt is important to change down through all the sudden change in power to the rear wheel cangears as you slow down or stop. This way you cause it to lock or spin, resulting in a skid. It isare always in the correct gear and you will best to change gears before entering a turn.have enough power to accelerate quickly ifneed be. Starting on a hillMake sure you are going slowly enough when It is harder to start a motorcycle on a hill thanyou change into a lower gear. If you are going on flat ground, because it can easily roll intotoo fast, the motorcycle will lurch and the rear someone behind or in front of you, or stall.wheel may lock up. This is more likely to Here is what you should do:happen: • use either the front or rear brake to hold the• going down a hill - the motorcycle tends to motorcycle while you start the engine get gradually get faster going down a hill • hold the front brake on and select first gear• changing into first gear - on many • change to the foot brake to hold the motorcycles, the speed range for first gear is motorcycle (this allows you to use the very low. throttle and clutch) Motorcycle Riders Handbook 25
  35. 35. Control for safety• open the throttle a little for more power, holding the foot brake on• ease the clutch lever out to friction point (until the engine starts to drive the motorcycle forward) without stalling the motor• hold the clutch lever still and then release the rear brake slowly• once you are moving take your time in easing your clutch fully out and placing your left foot on the footpeg. Questions1. How should you brake to stop normally?2. If you need to stop quickly while in a turn, what action would you use?3. If you are going to make a turn, when should you apply the brakes?4. If you have to change down for a turn, when should you do this?26 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  36. 36. Being seenBeing seen ClothingCar drivers involved in crashes with Bright or fluorescent coloured clothing andmotorcycles often say that they did not see the helmets can help make riders more noticeable.motorcycle. From the front or from behind a A large yellow, white or orange coloured areamotorcycle is about one-third the size of a car. is more easily seen than other colours.The rider can, however, make the motorcycle Reflective tape on your clothing and a wellmore noticeable. polished motorcycle may also help others see you. If you do not wear bright colouredWhatever the situation, never assume a driver clothing, at least wear a reflective vest at nighthas seen you. Regardless of your skill level, (this is more noticeable to drivers behind youask yourself the following questions when than your tail light). Become aware of theriding your motorcycle: colours that are around you. If your colours• can I see far enough around me for the match your surroundings you will blend in. speed I am going? For example, if a black van is behind you and• am I being hidden from view? you are riding a black motorcycle and wearing black clothing, it is unlikely that you will be• am I being seen by other road users? seen from the front. Whatever you wear and• am I as safe in this position as I can be? whatever the surroundings, position andMovement colour contrast (e.g. black on white) improve your chances of being seen.Movement across the width of your lane canhelp to attract other drivers attention. (SeeSpace to the side) Motorcycle Riders Handbook 27
  37. 37. Being seenHeadlight • if I move within my lane how will it improve or reduce my safety or visibility?To make yourself more visible to oncomingvehicles, keep your headlight on low beam • am I riding in another drivers “blind spot”during the day. Motorcycles are usually more (see Looking ahead - Position).noticeable to oncoming drivers when their When riding behind another vehicle try toheadlights are turned on than when they are make eye contact with the driver in their rearnot. Do not use high beam during the day as it vision mirror so your chances of being seen arecan be dangerous to other road users by increased.shining into their eyes. Use your headlightflasher in situations where others may not havenoticed you. But beware, flashing yourheadlight can be taken to mean one thing toyou and something else to others.Lane positioning for safety RTA 000You should use all your lane depending on thesituation. Always ask: When you approach an intersection with a• can other road users see me where I am in restricted view of a side street, try to move my lane? away from the potential danger area. For• can I see enough from where I am in my example, move to the right of your lane as you lane? approach a corner on the left; as in the picture28 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  38. 38. Being seenbelow. If you cannot see everything you need guarantee you are seen. This usually createsto, slow down. confusion to both the rider and the driver about each others intentions • move across your lane away from the turning car. Increased space reduces risk • if there are cars blocking the driver’s line of vision, take extra care. There are other times when you will need to change your position on the road to remain safe, depending on traffic and road surface conditions. (See Looking for trouble and Keeping your distance.)When an oncoming car seems ready to turnacross your path: Parking• check your mirrors and slow down by using When you park, angle the front of your your brakes as you approach it. This gives motorcycle away from the kerb so other the driver more time to see you, reduces motorists can see it. You may angle park in your stopping distance if you have to stop any legal parking area (whether it is marked quickly, and gives others behind you an for parallel or angle parking). early warning that you are slowing down• do not rely on eye contact with the driver to Motorcycle Riders Handbook 29
  39. 39. Being seenWhen you park: Horn• the rear of the motorcycle must be as near as The horn on a motorcycle does not draw very possible to the edge of the road much attention to you, but it is better than• face the motorcycle in the direction of the having no horn. Be ready to use it in a situation traffic on that side of the road which could become dangerous. If you use your• the motorcycle must not stick out past the horn, be prepared to use your brakes as well. line of other parked vehicles as it could For example, if a car in the next lane decides to disrupt traffic flow. pull into your lane and you do not think it has seen you, give a friendly “toot” on the horn. After checking your mirrors either slow down, speed up or change your position in the lane. Do not be afraid to use your horn if you have any doubts about what other road users might do. Signals The signals you use as a motorcycle rider are similar to those used by a car driver. However, signals are far more important to you as a rider because a motorcycle is such a small vehicle that any light that flashes helps attract attention.30 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  40. 40. Being seenIndicators lanes or turn, and may drive into your path (see the picture below). Check yourAlways use your mirrors before using your instruments to see if you have left yourindicators. indicators on after using them. This checkBy indicating, you tell others what you intend should be part of normal riding and youto do. Always use your indicators when you should do it as soon as possible after changingmove off and when you change lanes. Allow direction.enough indicating time to warn others aroundyou so they can see your signal and react.Because indicators flash, they help make youmore visible. A driver behind you is morelikely to see your indicator than your tail light.Therefore, it is a good idea to use yourindicators even when your intentions areobvious. For example, if you use yourindicators on a freeway entrance ramp, it ismore likely that cars on the freeway will seeyou. Brake lightBe careful not to leave your indicators on when Motorcycle brake lights are not as noticeable asthey are no longer needed. If you leave them car brake lights. Adjust your brake light toon, a driver may think that you plan to change come on just before the brakes start to work. Motorcycle Riders Handbook 31
  41. 41. Being seenYou can draw attention to your brake light by You could have the brakes on setup, ready fortapping on the brake pedal to flash the brake immediate action.light before you slow down. Do not move up on the vehicle’s left sideFlash your brake light as a signal that you are unless you are in a marked lane and you aregoing to slow down when: sure they are not going to turn left.• you are being closely followed• you are making a right turn off a high speed highway• you are slowing down at some place where other road users would not expect it.Larger vehiclesDrivers can see another car, truck, or bus moreeasily than they can see a motorcycle. Ridersmust realise that at times they may be hiddenfrom view when alongside a larger vehicle.When crossing at an intersection, roundaboutor other dangerous place, be sure the driver ofthe larger vehicle is not about to make a turnacross your path from the next lane. Try not tocross an intersection in the driver’s blind-spot.32 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  42. 42. Being seen Questions • Ride with your headlight on low beam during daytime?1. During daylight, what is a way to improve your motorcycle being seen by oncoming • Maintain space around your motorcycle? drivers? • Try not to blend in to your surroundings?2. Why should you check that your turn signal • All of the above? has stopped flashing after a turn?3. When you merge into traffic, what can you do to make sure you can be seen?4. When a rider is boxed in by other vehicles, what actions could reduce the risk?5. When following a car, where should you position your motorcycle?6. You can make it easier for other drivers to see you. Which of the following ways is a good idea:• Wear fluorescent coloured clothing and helmet?• Ride in a position that allows the driver to see you in a rear view mirror? Motorcycle Riders Handbook 33
  43. 43. Looking aroundLooking around mirror your chances of seeing a vehicle that may have moved into your blind spot areScanning and planning better. You will still need to do a head checkNothing you do will ensure that others will see (see next section Head checks) to check the blindyou. A good rider is always “looking for spot if you are going to change lanes ortrouble”. The best way to stay out of trouble is direction.to see it before it happens. Use your height advantage. Look over orIn cities and towns, look a full block or more through the car in front of you for carsahead. On the highway, look as far ahead and stopping or turning ahead.behind as you can - this gives you plenty of Do not focus your eyes on any one thing fortime to plan and adjust for problems. The too long. You should scan continuouslyfurther you look ahead the more time and whenever you are riding.distance you have to respond. By scanning While scanning, check for potential problems,and planning you can avoid panic stops or such as:sudden swerves that can cause even moretrouble. • slippery surfacesWhen scanning, look as far ahead as possible, • bad bumpsthen work your eyes back down the road • pot holestoward you. Then check your instruments and • loose gravelthen behind you by using your mirrors. By • wet leaves or objects lying on the roadturning your head slightly to look into the34 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  44. 44. Looking around• sunshine in your eyes as it makes scanning difficult• other drivers who may be blinded by the sun• other road users, animals or young children.Head checksMotorcycle riders have “blind spots” just asdrivers do. When you are about to move off orchange lanes, make sure you turn your headand look over your shoulder for traffic. Thismakes sure that the space you are about tomove into is safe. This is called a “head check”and is the only sure way to see a vehicle well as the one next to you. Another driverbehind you in the next lane. may be moving to the same space as youThe “head check” is very important if you intend to.intend to change lanes. There is little chance Using your mirrorsthat a driver in the next lane can react quicklyenough to avoid you once you have started to You should check your mirrors regularly sochange lanes. On a road with two or more you always know what is behind you. Therelanes in your direction, check the far lanes as Motorcycle Riders Handbook 35
  45. 45. Looking aroundare also particular times when it is veryimportant for you to use your mirrors:• when preparing to turn or change lanes, watch carefully for any cars behind you, especially if you plan to turn where others may not expect it, such as at lane ways, driveways and side streets• when you have to slow down or stop, use the "setting up" action of the brakes to remind you to check in the rear vision mirror. If there is someone close behind, it may be better to keep moving or make a safe lane change at your escape route until the vehicle behind• when you are stopped behind another has stopped. vehicle, leave plenty of space (two For any change of direction or line, the order is: motorcycle lengths at least) in front of you • mirror check to move (it is difficult to change direction quickly from a stopped position). Watch • head check vehicles approaching from behind. If a • signal (indicate) driver is not paying attention, flash your • then action. brake light to reduce the chance of being hit in the rear. Remain in first gear and aimed36 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  46. 46. Looking aroundPosition As a motorcyclist you can move around in your lane to improve your line of sight andAs well as seeing and being seen, riding on become more visible to others (see picture incertain parts of the road at certain times can previous column):put you in unnecessary danger. For instance,the oil build up in the centre of your lane can • in curves you can move to one side of themean it takes further to slow down or stop if it lane or the other to get a better viewis raining or you are leaning over in a corner. through the curveStaying in the right wheel track of the vehicle • at stop signs you are closer to the cornerin front regardless of conditions is also than the driver of a car. When you stop,incorrect. How safe you are depends on where position yourself where you can best seeyou are in your lane. and be seen without putting yourself at risk • when turning left (see picture on next page), move toward the left of the centre of the lane or toward the right of the centre of the lane for a right turn (but still allow some Drivers line of sight space between you and the kerb, or you and the centre of the road). Do not allow yourself to be boxed in. When you overtake a car, do not stay in the blind spot any longer than you have to. Start overtaking carefully. Once you have entered Motorcycle Riders Handbook 37
  47. 47. Looking around If a driver wants to overtake you, hold your position on the road until the overtaking vehicle has started changing lanes, then move away from the vehicle as it overtakes you. This will reduce the chances of a driver trying to use part of your lane to overtake. Questions left right 1. Where should you not look when following centre a car?the blind spot alongside, proceed through it 2 How should you check for traffic beforeand ride in the driver’s direct vision. Stay changing lanes?within the speed limit. 3. Is it important to check traffic behind you when you are planning a turn at a side street? Why? Blind spot 4. When riding on the road, what information and actions would cause you to reassess your lane position? Blind spot38 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  48. 48. Keeping your distanceKeeping your distance stop your motorcycle. This is not enough distance to avoid a crash. Although all yourSpace in front attention is focused on stopping, you mayThe best protection you can have is space panic and either lock the brake or do nothing atbetween you and others. If someone else all.makes a mistake, space gives you time to If you follow a vehicle with about threerespond and somewhere to go. Under seconds of space (about 50 metres), and theordinary conditions, try to keep at least a three driver ahead stops suddenly, at 60 km/h yousecond space between you and the vehicle will have travelled for about half a second or 12ahead (see Road Users’ Handbook on three - metres before you react. Your hand and footsecond gap). This space gives you: would have set up and braked, you would• enough time to react in an emergency have checked in your mirrors for danger and geared down all in about 34 metres, leaving• a better view of the road surface about 16 metres between you and the vehicle in• allows other drivers to see you. front.If you follow a car too closely and the driver For an explanation of following other vehicles,ahead stops suddenly, it is impossible for you see the Road Users’ Handbook.to stop in time. At 60 km/h you would havetravelled for more than half a second, or In wet conditions you will need a longer distancearound 12 metres before you react. Your hand in which to stop. Lack of tyre grip (traction) andand foot would have braked when you have "locking up" a wheel make stopping difficult, soonly a quarter of a second or four metres to increase the gap between you and the vehicle you are following to about six seconds or more. Motorcycle Riders Handbook 39
  49. 49. Keeping your distanceSpace to the sideAs a motorcycle rider you can do one thingthat car drivers cannot; you can move from oneside of the lane to another to increase distancefrom other cars and reduce the risk of a crash.You should change lane position as trafficconditions change.Here are some conditions that require changesof lane position: other traffic is approaching from the oppositeOvertaken from behind or passed by another direction. That way you can avoid problemsvehicle: you should move toward the centre of caused by car doors opening, drivers gettingyour lane, so you are as far away as possible out of cars, or people stepping from betweenfrom the passing vehicle. cars.Large trucks approaching can create windgusts that affect your control. You can reducethe strength of this wind gust by movingacross your lane away from the oncomingvehicle.When passing parked cars move to the centreor right of the lane, depending on whether40 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  50. 50. Keeping your distanceCars making U-turns are a particular danger. If you see a car pulling out, approach veryWhen cars pull out from the kerb the drivers carefully. Be prepared to set up your brakes,often take a quick look in the side mirror and sound your horn and flash your headlight iffail to see a motorcycle. Always be prepared necessary.for a car to pull out, having not seen you, and Most crashes between cars and motorcyclesturn across the road and block your lane, happen at intersections. Drivers often cannotleaving you nowhere to go. see a motorcycle coming directly at them.Look for the following signs from a vehicle that These are three leading causes of motorcyclemay be about to do a U-turn across your path: crashes at intersections:• a driver behind the wheel • a car making a right turn across a• brake lights on motorcycle’s path• reverse lights flash on • a car pulling out from a side street into a motorcycle’s path• front wheel turning out • the rider failing to recognise potential• right indicator flashing. dangers. If a car can move onto or across your path, assume that it will and do something to protect yourself: ? • move as far away from the risk (car) as you can Motorcycle Riders Handbook 41
  51. 51. Keeping your distance• if the car is on your left, move to the right traffic may begin to move leaving you trapped• if an oncoming car has a right turn signal between vehicles. on, move to the left Lane sharing by others• keep a clear space around you, change lanes Lane sharing may occur in: if necessary (do not forget the head check). • heavy traffic • when you are preparing to turn at an intersection, enter an exit lane or leave the road • when another driver wants to overtake you. In these situations if you move too far or too soon to one side, you invite other drivers toSharing lanes share the lane with you. The best way to reduce this occurrence is to position yourself toCars and motorcycles each need a full lane.Drivers should not share lanes withmotorcycles and motorcycles should not sharelanes with cars or other motorcycles.Do not ride between rows of stopped or slow-moving cars. Anything can happen - a doorcould open, a car could turn suddenly, the42 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  52. 52. Keeping your distancediscourage other drivers from trying to • change lanes and let the tailgater pass whensqueeze past you. the way is clear for a safe passA car on a freeway may having trouble seeing • slow down so the tailgater can overtake you.a motorcycle merging from an entrance ramp Questions(even with its headlight on). Do not assumethat the driver on the freeway has seen you. 1. What is the least gap you should keep between you and the vehicle in front?Always try to keep a clear space on at least one 2. A car in this picture is pulling out of aside while you are riding. If a car in the next parking space. What action on the carlane changes into your lane without warning drivers behalf would put you in the greatestyou are trapped if there is no space to move to. danger?Space behindMany riders complain about “tailgaters”; thatis, people who follow others very closely. Ifsomeone is following you too closely:• increase your three-second space between you and the car in front. This gives you more distance to stop and allows the 3. In what part of the lane should you ride tailgater more time to react if possible when being passed by on-coming vehicles? Motorcycle Riders Handbook 43
  53. 53. Keeping your distance4. What should you do when approaching an intersection where an on-coming car is signalling to turn right? (see below) A C B5. In what part of the lane should you ride if you are being overtaken by a car on a two- lane road?6. You are being followed very closely by another vehicle. What should you do?7. You are coming to an intersection. What is your greatest danger?44 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  54. 54. Difficult surfacesDifficult surfaces slowing down and/or leaning your body into the bendSlippery surfaces • check your speed. Advisory speeds applyAny road surface that affects your motorcycle’s to good surface conditions.tyre grip will affect your control. Some Whenever you apply the brakes, use theslippery surfaces are: progressive braking technique using both• wet bitumen, particularly just after it starts brakes. On a poor surface the front and rear to rain brake will be applied but the application must• gravel roads, or places where sand, mud or be gradual. gravel have collected on sealed roads Recap - progressive braking• painted lane markings and steel surfaces Remember, set up by applying a small amount (manhole covers) are particularly dangerous of front and rear brake so it just starts to when wet. compress the front forks. This action does notThere are a number of things you must do to put a sudden load on the front tyre.ride safely on slippery surfaces: Then apply a little more pressure until you• reduce your speed, so that you require less have braked enough. This is called progressive space to stop braking.• reduce the amount of lean on the motorcycle The only time you should not use the front when riding curves. This is done by brake is if the surface is extremely slippery, like ice. Motorcycle Riders Handbook 45
  55. 55. Difficult surfacesAvoid sudden moves or sudden changes in sharp turns at intersections, or enter and leavespeed or direction as these can cause skidding freeways at high speed.on a slippery surface. The less lean angle (and speed) a motorcycleYou should turn, brake, accelerate, and change has, the less effect poor or slippery surfacesgears as little or as smoothly as possible. will have on it.When you change lane position, do it Certain sections of the road dry out faster aftersmoothly. rain or snow. Try to ride on the dry sections.Choose the best surface: try to avoid slippery Stay on the surfaces that provide the best gripareas or try to find the best of the poor surface whenever possible but do not put yourself atand use it. Oil from cars tends to build up in risk by riding too close to traffic approachingthe centre of the lane, particularly near from any direction.intersections where cars slow down or stop. On very slippery surfaces like mud, hard-On wet bitumen, it is better to ride in the tracks packed snow, wet wooden surfaces, paintedcreated by the wheels of moving cars. road markings or ice it can be difficult to keepWatch for oil patches when you stop or park. your balance. If at all possible avoid theseIf you put your foot down in the wrong spot it surfaces. If you can not avoid them, ride asmay slip. slowly as possible and keep the motorcycle upright at all times. You can also use your feetDirt and gravel tend to collect along the sides as “outriggers” to stop you falling. Make noof the road. It is very important to stay away changes in speed or direction until you can dofrom the edge of the road when you make it safely.46 Motorcycle Riders Handbook
  56. 56. Difficult surfacesUneven surfaces as safety allows. Do not try to cross large ridges (dirt or bitumen) at sharp angles as theyWatch for uneven surfaces such as bumps, may catch your tyres and upset your balancebroken road surfaces, “potholes”, corrugated and control.dirt roads or railway tracks across the road. Ifthe conditions are bad enough, they couldaffect control of your motorcycle. When youride on uneven surfaces you should:• ride slowly to reduce the road shock to your body• keep the motorcycle as upright as possible• rise slightly on the footpegs so that you can absorb the shock with your knees and Sloping surfaces elbows A road surface that slopes from one side to the• hold a steady throttle and speed to reduce other is not difficult to handle when you are instability of the front end. going straight ahead. However, in a curve, if aRail crossing slope goes the wrong way it can make turning difficult.If it is necessary to change your approachwhen you want to cross a rail crossing, slowdown before and cross the crossing as squarely Motorcycle Riders Handbook 47

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